Drinking Caffeine (In Moderation!) May Support A Healthy Liver
August 18, 2013
To all the caffeine lovers of the world, researchers at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School may have some good news for you.
AsianScientist (Aug. 19, 2013) – To all the caffeine lovers of the world, researchers at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School may have some good news for you.
Together with collaborators at the Duke University School of Medicine, the researchers found that an increased caffeine intake may reduce fatty liver in mice.
Worldwide, 70 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes and obesity have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the major cause of fatty liver not due to excessive alcohol consumption. Currently, it is estimated that 30 percent of American adults have this condition, and its prevalence is rising in Singapore. There are no effective treatments for NAFLD except for diet and exercise.
In a study published in the journal Hepatology, Prof. Paul Yen and Dr. Rohit Sinha at Duke-NUS observed that caffeine stimulates the metabolization of lipids stored in liver cells and decreased the fatty liver of mice that were fed a high fat diet.
Extrapolating their findings to human caffeine intake, the researchers suggest that the equivalent of four cups of coffee and tea per day may be beneficial in preventing NAFLD and slowing down its progression in humans.
“This is the first detailed study of the mechanism for caffeine action on lipids in liver and the results are very interesting,” said Yen. “Coffee and tea are so commonly consumed and the notion that they may be therapeutic, especially since they have a reputation for being ‘bad’ for health, is especially enlightening.”
The researchers hope that their findings may lead to the development of caffeine-like drugs that do not have the typical side effects of caffeine, but still retain their therapeutic effects on the liver.
The article can be found at: Sinha RA et al. (2013) Caffeine stimulates hepatic lipid metabolism via autophagy-lysosomal pathway.
Source: Duke-NUS; Photo: puuikibeach/Flickr/CC.
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